Hardcore PC players are effectively acquainted with Danish producer SteelSeries: it makes mice, keyboards and gaming headsets which are perennially standard with the e-sports brigade.
The newest addition to its line-up is the Arctis 7, a mid-priced $149 (£159.99 / AU$259) wi-fi headset that boasts DTS Headphone: X surround-sound and a few very neat design touches certainly.
The Arctis 7 makes a advantageous first impression: bodily, it oozes class. It’s surprisingly mild, and comes with what SteelSeries describes as a ski-goggle band (which it isn’t, because it sits on prime of your head moderately going across the again of it), with natty Dazzle Ships-style camouflage print.
That design each supplies an enormous quantity of adjustability for players with unusually giant or small heads and ensures that the Arctis 7 is prime of the category within the consolation stakes. It’s a headset you can fortunately put on all day.
In phrases of end, the Arctis 7 is equally unimpeachable. The backs of its earcups are coated with beautiful, tactile rubber, its headband is steel padded by rubber, there aren’t any low-cost plastics to be seen and usually it has the appear and feel of a really high-end headset.
The microphone neatly retreats into the left earcup when not in use. Ergonomically, it’s spot-on, with separate dials for quantity and chat degree that are straightforward to find.
Things stop to be fairly so rosy, nevertheless, once you come to set it up. The guide is so terse as to be positively unhelpful, requiring frequent recourse to the net. And the Arctis 7 quickly betrays its PC-centric background. It comes with a small, disc-shaped wi-fi (2.4GHz, moderately than Bluetooth, so it doesn’t endure from drop-outs) transmitter that connects to a PC or console by way of USB.
The lack of an optical cable signifies that should you hook it as much as a PlayStation four, you gained’t get any surround-sound, and the identical applies to the Xbox One – besides there’s no must plug its transmitter in, as it’s going to solely work as a wired headset, related to an Xbox One controller.
One huge feather in its cap is that it’s going to work as a totally wi-fi headset (though once more with out surround-sound) with a Nintendo Switch in its docked mode. Although that requires a Three.5mm-to-Three.5mm cable, connecting the Switch’s audio-out with line-in on the transmitter, which isn’t provided with the headset. The guide gave no inkling that that was a risk, however a spot of web-trawling enlightened us.
The solely point out of any software program or firmware settings within the guide pertained to setting the Arctis 7 up to be used with a PC, which moderately provides the sport away – it’s very a lot a PC headset which will also be hooked as much as consoles. Installing it on a PC brings a bit of software program which operates as a graphic equaliser – on any of the consoles, it’s unattainable to change its equalisation.
Not that you’d essentially need to, because the Arctis 7 has a really clear, impartial sound – one that ought to please the audiophiles.
It has a very robust, crystal-clear mid-range, together with a properly balanced and really exact treble.
That mentioned, its bass is a bit weaker. If you’re on the lookout for a headset that gives a cinema-type sound, with a continuing, excitement-ramping bass rumble, you’ll need to look elsewhere, as you’ll discover its bass moderately weedy.
However, it’s a perfect-sounding headset should you’re doubtless to make use of it for listening to audio, significantly from a hi-fi setup. You ought to be capable of get it working wirelessly by way of the transmitter’s audio-in connector.
The Arctis 7’s built-in microphone sports activities some spectacular know-how which renders it unusually crystal-clear and eliminates the tinniness that its friends usually introduce to your voice. Because it’s flexible, you may place it proper up near your mouth, so it performs effectively once you use it in noisy locations.
Even on the PC, although, the DTS Headphone:X sound implementation wasn’t one of the best we’ve come throughout. It makes use of software program moderately than , and is a bit on or off, missing directional nuance.
This may put you at an obstacle should you’re within the higher echelon of first-person shooter devotees, however should you don’t have any aspirations to be knowledgeable Call of Duty participant or the like, it shouldn’t pose an excessive amount of of an issue. In any case, the Arctis 7 merely gained’t be capable of convey any kind of surround-sound on any of the consoles.
One style of recreation which it’s eminently suited to is Massively Multiplayer Online video games (MMOs). Anyone who performs these will place consolation on the prime of their checklist of priorities, and the Arctis 7 actually scores effectively within the consolation stakes. MMOs additionally are inclined to eschew surround-sound – and the overwhelming majority of them are finest performed on the PC.
Another facet of the Arctis 7 which can endear it to MMO-lovers is its battery life. It was initially rated at 15 hours, however SteelSeries just lately unleashed a firmware replace which, it claims, extends that battery life to a staggering 24 hours. We didn’t fairly get that, however did eke about 20 hours out of it, which is among the many finest on the market—particularly for a headset which is mild and cozy. Recharging is carried out by way of a USB cable moderately than a cradle, however that turns into much less of a problem when it’s important to recharge it occasionally.
On the consoles, it’s much less straightforward to suggest the Arctis 7, attributable to primarily to its lack of surround-sound. The must wire any headset to an Xbox One controller negates spending further on a wi-fi headset, anyway. But the actual fact it really works in correct wi-fi mode with the Switch is spectacular (when you do your analysis and work out the best way to get it going), though we did discover that it sounded disappointingly quiet on the Switch, which has no audio-out quantity management.
However, should you’re a PC gamer with a selected penchant for MMOs, or motion video games that don’t require pinpoint surround-sound, and are on the lookout for a headset with a wonderfully impartial sound which is fantastically made, the Arctis 7 is pretty much as good as something on the market.
As gaming headsets go, it’s removed from probably the most mass-appeal one on sale, so should you’re considering of shopping for one for another person, ensure you discover out what types of video games they like, and whether or not they play on the PC or on consoles.
- For our prime picks, try our information to the best PC gaming headsets and best console gaming headsets